Power, Natural Gas Rates Going Down

The Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC) is receiving applications from regulated electric and natural gas utilities to provide savings to their Oregon customers due to the recently passed tax reform legislation.  These filings request the Commission to authorize deferrals to track the changes in tax obligations so that future savings may be reflected in rates.  Applications submitted to date include Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, Northwest Natural and Avista, while Idaho Power and Cascade Natural Gas Company filings are expected Friday.

“The Commission has been working with the regulated utilities to ensure tax deferral applications are submitted to benefit customers,” said Jason Eisdorfer, Utility Program Director for the PUC.  “Our own staff is prepared to file an application to guarantee savings to ratepayers should a utility not file their own or their filing does not meet the Commission’s standards.”

These utilities’ retail rates in Oregon currently assume a 35 percent tax rate, which is passed on to customers.  The federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act, recently passed by Congress, decreases the corporate tax rate to 21 percent. 

“Once Commissioners approve the tax deferral filings, utility service providers will be required to start tracking changes resulting from the tax reform legislation. The Commission would then consider the appropriate ratemaking treatment at a later date,” said Eisdorfer.  

Source: Oregon Public Utility Commission


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